Sometimes at the start of a project my clients can understandably be at a loss as to what they want to achieve with their home interiors, it can be overwhelming and as there are such a myriad of options out there for everything it can be tough to narrow down all of choices or commit to a single style direction. I will often suggest that they do a bit of ‘creative visualisation’. This is where I ask them to think about how they want the space to feel. A lot of the time people worry about what other people will think or compare their homes to others and focus on the outward expressions they’re making with their design choices, whereas the most important part of the result is the inward emotions of the home. The process enables my client and I to establish what the design goals are but creative visualisation also goes a step further, it’s encourages thought on a deeper level about a home and its’ occupants, the lives that will fill the space, the things that will happen in it, creating memories within the home and the feeling that it will instill in all who visit it.
I recently read this article from Milk & Mode, about Sophie Dahl’s lovely book, it reminded me how useful this method is for making people envision their living spaces differently, once you start thinking about how a space will feel you use different language and it’s much easier to get a sense of direction. Sophie Dahl’s dream kitchen:
“This kitchen is a gentle relaxed one, where a punishing, guilt-inducing attitude towards food will not be tolerated. In this kitchen we appreciate the restorative powers of chocolate. The kitchen would have a fireplace, and possibly a few dogs from Battersea Dogs’ Home curled up next to it. There might be a small upright piano by the window, with an orchid that doesn’t wither as soon as I look at it. On long summer days, the doors to this kitchen are thrown open, while a few lazy, non-stinging bees mosey by. Children stir. When it rains, there is room in this kitchen for reading and a spoon finding its way into the cake mix. Serious cups of tea are drunk here; idle gossip occurs, balance and humour prevail. It’s the kitchen of my grandparents’, but with some Bowie thrown in. It is lingering breakfasts, it is friends with babies on their knees, it is goodbye on a Sunday with the promise of more. This kitchen is where life occurs; jumbled, messy and delicious. It is lovely.”
As an example of how successful this process can be; a client who said she wanted to go for a minimal, architectural style for her open plan living/kitchen area but didn’t feel that any of the items I showed her that were minimal and/or architectural were “quite right”. When I asked her about how the space should ideally feel and to try some creative visualisation the buzzwords she used were “cosy, informal, comfortable, organic” She said she wanted people to come in, kick their shoes off and sink into sofas, to drink G&T’s and chat to her at a big table while she cooked. I changed direction entirely and sent her images of old oak farmhouse tables and large, squishy old fashioned sofas, we then talked about creating cosy lamplit niches, window seats and soft rugs and tada! We had found the direction. Completely different from what she thought she wanted and ultimately truly lovely. Creative visualisation – try it, it works.